My buddy Jamey is a police officer in Georgia, and yesterday he had to report to a home where a woman had just died of natural causes. As he made his way into the house, he saw a frail, elderly man weeping by the bed where his beloved wife was laying. My friend was moved by the tenderness, devotion and love that had obviously held this marriage together for so many years.
After the Coroner had come, Jamey had the opportunity to sit down with the grieving husband to hear some wonderful stories. The old man seemed to have a surge of youthful energy in his voice and he described their marriage as teenagers and how they'd run off to the West Coast with only pennies in their pockets to start their new life together. There was an undeniable sparkle in his eye as he relived their lifetime of love and adventures.
He shared some of the good times and bad times and how their commitment to each other, their faith and family had kept them grounded through all the storms of life. He shared about the friendship that grew throughout their life as they became companions, confidants, and collaborators together through every season of their epic journey. Even as their health faded, their love grew.
They shared so much laughter and love, and even through the trials, they made sure there was always joy and fun!
When it came time for Jamey to leave, the old man shared one last thought that will forever stick in my mind. He said, "Sixty-six years together...it wasn't nearly enough time! There was so much time I wasted that I wish I could go back and give to her and spend with her. It just wasn't nearly enough time together."
The lesson for all of us is to cherish your time together. Even in the little, everyday routines of life, be fully present in the moments together. Be willing to turn off the phones and screens and distractions and make time for each other. At the end of your life looking back, your faith and your family will be all that matters to you, so please don't wait until then to make them your top priority!
Make a deliberate decision right now to stop wasting time and start putting first things first. You never made vows to love and cherish your career or hobbies so never put those things ahead of your marriage. Give the very best of yourself to your spouse; not the leftovers after you've given your best to everyone and everything else.
It's my hope and prayer that your best days together are ahead of you and not behind you! In the good times, celebrate together, in the hard times, pray together, and in all times, be there together! Remember that a "perfect marriage" is just two imperfect people who refuse to give up on each other!
This article was originally published on Patheos. It has been republished here with permission.